House (Mis)fires First Shot in Battle over Employer Access to Facebook Passwords
While at least one Senator is drafting a bill to stop the “unreasonable invasion of privacy” resulting from employer access to your Facebook page, the House has rejected a similar proposal from Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter. The measure would have prevented employers from collecting Facebook user names and passwords as a condition of employment. The law was added as an amendment to the FCC Reform Act Bill, but was shot down 236-184. Republican opposition spelled disaster for the amendment, though it’s not clear whether House Republicans were genuinely opposed to the legislation or simply did not want to address the matter as part of the FCC Bill (which incidentally, they passed later that day).
As this blog has reported previously, Facebook is vehemently opposed to employers gaining access to employee pages. However, presumably because Facebook lacks the legal and technical capacity to stop the practice, Facebook (and its user base) has been ratcheting up the pressure on Congress to do something.
Given the attention on this issue, it’s practically certain that these measures will be reintroduced in future legislation. We’ll no doubt be blogging about these developments, so check back with us for updates as this saga unfolds.